Why You Should Optimize Your Text Structure for SEO
As a leading SEO agency, we are well-practiced at structuring texts to get the best performance. At the end of the day, there are two main things you’re aiming for:
- Search engine bots to boost your content in the SERPs and drive more users to your site for answers
- Readers to engage with your content and understand your message
A good structure will certainly help with both of these things. It will increase the readability of your text, and help Google to rank it properly.
Ready to dive in? Here’s how our SEO agency does it.
How People Scan Texts
When people click through to a website, the first thing they tend to do is scan the page they land on. They’ll scroll down and skim read to get a sense of what information the text contains. Then, if they decide they are interested and want to continue reading, they’ll scroll back up and read it through, jumping between the sections which appear to be most important to them.
Headings and subheadings are crucial. These are the main elements people will pick up on as they glance over your web page, and so they are pretty much the most important thing when it comes to breaking up the information you’re communicating and to catching your reader’s eye.
You want to keep site visitors engaged and interested, and discourage them from clicking away. Well-structured posts have far lower bounce rates, and are more likely to be shared on social media. This heightened interaction will lead to higher rankings in the SERPs.
How Google Scans Texts
People aren’t the only ones who scan in a particular way—Google does too.
- Headings: if your headings contain particular keywords that are important for the topic of that page, then Google will give your page more weight.
- Semantic closeness: the proximity of related words within a post is a key ranking signal for Google. In order for the search engine to properly understand the semantic closeness of your content, the formatting and structure of your text has to be made as clear as possible.
- The BERT update: Google recently announced a new Natural Language Processing model which is set to affect every 1 in 10 searches. Now, the algorithm is better at understanding natural language than ever before—so results can be made more relevant without having to resort to the density of awkwardly integrated key phrases.
Tips from an SEO Agency: How to Improve Your Structure
There are several elements you need to pay close attention to when structuring your text. In our experience as a leading SEO agency, three of the most important are:
- The first paragraph
- The first sentence of each subsequent paragraph
- The headings and subheadings
If you get these three aspects right, your writing will be more readable and easier to scan.
The First Paragraph
Your first paragraph should act as a kind of thesis statement. It should clearly express what exactly your post is about so that your reader immediately knows that your text will answer their questions. This is called the “inverted pyramid writing style”, and it’s a technique that journalists have tried and tested and have been using for years.
When you’re writing for the internet, you don’t have the time to tease a reader and draw them in slowly. You need to get straight to the point, straight from the start.
So, before you begin writing, make sure you know what the main message of your article is. Including your keyword in the first section is also a must: the searcher will recognise the word they entered to get to your post, and feel reassured that they’ve come to the right place. It’s simple psychology.
And don’t forget: a clear first paragraph will also help Google classify your text.
Introducing Subsequent Paragraphs
Every paragraph needs to start strong with a sentence which clearly expresses the core idea of that section. Each sentence after that will build on this core premise.
People who are scanning your writing will start out by reading these first sentences to get a gist of what you’re saying without having to go through your post or article with a fine comb. So, if you don’t make sure that each introductory sentence contains your core message, they won’t pick up on it.
The first sentence of each paragraph is also a great place to integrate your keyword naturally if possible. Of course, if you are writing a well-structured post and not straying too far off-topic, working your keyword into these core sentences shouldn’t be too tricky.
Headings and Subheadings
As we’ve already stressed, headings make your text easier to scan. Make them bigger and bolder than the rest of your writing so they can be seen as easily as possible.
You should also take care to give them appropriate names, because each heading needs to closely reflect the contents of the section underneath it. There’s no point coming up with a great sounding title if it doesn’t reflect the message that follows. Along these lines, each long paragraph or group of thematically similar paragraphs requires its own heading. That way, they can be used to determine what the article is about.
As a content-led SEO agency, we know that headings are extremely important for the overall structure of a text. Headings containing the focus keyword can come into play as ranking factors—they should not be overlooked.
Text structure is extremely important for attracting more readers to your site. Optimizing your structure isn’t easy so if you need an experienced SEO agency to guide you through it get in touch with us at LeadGeneratorsDigital.